Background and Mission

We need a science of social connection now more than ever.  At the highest level, the world-wide problems we confront – from racism and hatred to climate change – will only be solved if we join together as a global community, accepting our differences and uniting in common human values.  At the most personal level, we know that experiencing meaningful intimate relationships and social connectedness is crucial to physical health, mental health, and quality of life.

The Center for the Science of Social Connection is committed to a progressive science that seeks not just understanding but action on these problems.  We aim to develop and test intervention models that are grounded in the real world, not the ivory tower…that work for real people, not academics…that are sustainable in real organizations and communities and continue to make a difference after the research ends.

We search for areas of public health significance where good relationships matter, and we seek to collaborate with stakeholders in these areas to improve relationships.  This has led us to explore collaborations with diverse community members, college students, and medical professionals to improve cross-racial relations and cross-racial friendships…with pediatricians to improve relations between doctors and parents to improve childhood vaccination rates…with bariatric surgeons and patients to improve patient’s social support for post-surgical success…and with psychotherapists and other mental health professionals to improve psychotherapy outcomes.

We are continually searching for new partnerships and areas to explore.

In our work, we are committed to working cross-culturally, with people of color, and with disenfranchised groups.  We are committed to reducing racism and hate by developing interventions that challenge white people to grow, to increase empathy, to activate, and most importantly, to connect authentically and vulnerably with others who are different from them and form good, authentic relationships. 

At the core of our work is the fundamental tenet that good human relationships matter.  We work with passion and compassion, balanced with scientific discipline and rigor.  We aim to produce the highest quality scientific work with findings that make a difference to our global community now.